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Palm and Citrus etc. Spacing, How Tight is Too Tight?


Xerarch

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Earlier this year we moved to Corpus Christi, TX, and I want to start my long term planting. We have a 1/4 acre lot (luxurious by modern suburb standards but less than I wanted) the yard is nearly a blank slate, I removed a few Chinese Tallow trees and a Cottonwood, two Crape Myrtles might stay. Anyway I want to plant like 10,000 things here, I have killed the existing grass around a perimeter around the back yard about 12 feet out from the fence in general but left path for entrance from side yard.  

I know I need to plant tight but at what point will I hate my life in the future and wish that I had fewer things that were spaced out more? I know some of you have much tighter than recommended spacing and things seems to work out ok. For example I have about 10 varieties of citrus and officially they are supposed to be spaced about 12 or 15 feet apart, well that ain’t happening, I have many other palms and fruit trees that will need to be squeezed in. I’m hoping that at least with the faster growing palms, the truck itself won’t take up that much space at ground level so maybe palms can be squeezed in and around and in between. Below are a few photos of the yard.  Thanks for any feedback 
 

EF8A8DF6-89BB-456C-93B7-A4C2A2FC86DC.thumb.jpeg.1d89dc8d7be747110207e90f50939e82.jpeg2AE92255-92CB-43DE-A75D-C35B412E9775.thumb.jpeg.bfbbddb5a7e0dd28b59e505f02420b4d.jpeg8C0B770B-A491-4786-8203-0D0252383027.thumb.jpeg.90afe3cbed9aa8e1e019b0470fb79d97.jpeg

Corpus Christi, TX, near salt water, zone 9b/10a! Except when it isn't and everything gets nuked.

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1 hour ago, Xerarch said:

Earlier this year we moved to Corpus Christi, TX, and I want to start my long term planting. We have a 1/4 acre lot (luxurious by modern suburb standards but less than I wanted) the yard is nearly a blank slate, I removed a few Chinese Tallow trees and a Cottonwood, two Crape Myrtles might stay. Anyway I want to plant like 10,000 things here, I have killed the existing grass around a perimeter around the back yard about 12 feet out from the fence in general but left path for entrance from side yard.  

I know I need to plant tight but at what point will I hate my life in the future and wish that I had fewer things that were spaced out more? I know some of you have much tighter than recommended spacing and things seems to work out ok. For example I have about 10 varieties of citrus and officially they are supposed to be spaced about 12 or 15 feet apart, well that ain’t happening, I have many other palms and fruit trees that will need to be squeezed in. I’m hoping that at least with the faster growing palms, the truck itself won’t take up that much space at ground level so maybe palms can be squeezed in and around and in between. Below are a few photos of the yard.  Thanks for any feedback 
 

EF8A8DF6-89BB-456C-93B7-A4C2A2FC86DC.thumb.jpeg.1d89dc8d7be747110207e90f50939e82.jpeg2AE92255-92CB-43DE-A75D-C35B412E9775.thumb.jpeg.bfbbddb5a7e0dd28b59e505f02420b4d.jpeg8C0B770B-A491-4786-8203-0D0252383027.thumb.jpeg.90afe3cbed9aa8e1e019b0470fb79d97.jpeg

You know what happens when you overplant a palm garden?

Magic.

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Don't worry about spacing on the citrus, 7Ft is fine and the trees can be used as a screen(privacy, sun, wind,or aesthetics).  I would plant fast trunking palms first and then low growers maybe a year later.

Sewer or septic?

Edited by amh
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My two cents (from a graphic designer perspective)…

- Plan based on their final size.

- Layering is key, and let’s you fit more in. Though you might need to wait until the top layer grows a bit before adding the lower level plants.

- Put tallest plants on back row, medium height in mid, and low plants in foreground.

- Arrange your plants in groupings, and mix it up (i.e. big fat palm next to three thin ones).

- Try to not put plants of a similar color & texture next to each other. Variety helps you see each palm more clearly.

- If it looks sparse when done, consider adding some cheap “filler” plants. Avoid the temptation to fill every space with another palm. Though it looks like you could fit a lot more in there.

- Use plants to block unwanted objects. The corner telephone pole for example… just make sure it doesn’t grow INTO the telephone wires. Bananas for example grow fast but are easy to take down if needed.

Have fun! Fresh starts are awesome.

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Stacey Wright  |  Graphic Designer

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Citrus trees are fine planted close you just have to keep them trimmed plant them separately because they don’t like shade. I’m one that loves palms planted close because in Phoenix shade is a plus then you can plant at least some tropical plants like ferns , philodendron and a few others you can just keep on experimenting love the jungle look who tells the jungle the plants are to close.

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editing is much more expensive than planting.  spacing needs depends on the palm species, and crown size.  I would stick to small palms if you are planting citrus and have a couple crepe myrtle already.  Trees grow a lot wider as they get tall, much more so than palms.   You will know they are too close after they grow in and you see lots of trunks.  I ripped out my crepe myrtle and every non palm tree except one southern magnolia.  My yard is 0.29acres, and I started with pretty much a blank slate.  I left the yard more open in front spacing wise, but I grew some big palms since I don't have space hogging non palm trees like live oak, crepe myrtle and a maple tree.  The maple grew to 40' in ten years from a 6' sapling and cost $700 to remove with stump grinding( a very good deal).  It was growing over top the palms and conflict was inevitable as the palms grew tall.   Dypsis pembana grows well in tight spaces as do archies, but royals, bismarckia, etc are not advisable in tight spaces.  I have a neighbor down the street who planted a bismarckia under a live oak and the day has come where the oak is going to rip up that bismarckias new leaves.  The oak is 20" in diameter and 30'+ wide in crown so its removal would be very expensive.  One last suggestion, avoid thorny palms in tight spaces.

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Formerly in Gilbert AZ, zone 9a/9b. Now in Palmetto, Florida Zone 9b/10a??

 

Tom Blank

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32 minutes ago, sonoranfans said:I would stick to small palms

….hmmmm….. but I must have Bismarcks and Royals, some of my very favorites of any palms. Will have to make sure to give extra space around those. Also I have some some seedling sabal mexicanas. I feel like I should have some of these in the yard since they are native and bullet proof. Some of these around town are beasts though, rivaling Bismarck in width. 

Corpus Christi, TX, near salt water, zone 9b/10a! Except when it isn't and everything gets nuked.

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You can reduce the number of citrus trees by contacting a GOOD GRAFTER and having him/her put more that one type on a tree.  That would make more room for palms, right?  LOL  Just an idea.

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Steve

Born in the Bronx

Raised in Brooklyn

Matured In Wai`anae

I can't be held responsible for anything I say or do....LOL

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8 minutes ago, WaianaeCrider said:

You can reduce the number of citrus trees by contacting a GOOD GRAFTER and having him/her put more that one type on a tree.  That would make more room for palms, right?  LOL  Just an idea.

Yes to this! 

I have one decades old sour orange which I cut to a stump, and grafted with kishu mandarin, cara cara navel, midnight valencia, calamondin, meyer lemon, mexican lime, oro blanco grapefruit, variegated pink lemon and pineapple sweet orange. 

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6 minutes ago, Josue Diaz said:

I have one decades old sour orange which I cut to a stump, and grafted with kishu mandarin, cara cara navel, midnight valencia, calamondin, meyer lemon, mexican lime, oro blanco grapefruit, variegated pink lemon and pineapple sweet orange. 

Ok, I'm just having a bit of fun... being that 90% of the plants in this mockup probably wouldn't grow in your zone. But I'm (obviously) not in the mood to do my work today - so am having some fun at your yard's expense :floor:

What if you were to make a mega-monster fruit tree (per the above suggestion) but put it in the corner of the yard instead of the perimeter. Tree would get lots of fruit-supporting sun, and block the power line without risking growing into it. Then you can make the rest of your yard a palmy paradise!

Again, the plants in this mockup are for HUMOR only (not suggestion on specific plants that will work in your yard)...

 

fruit.jpg

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Stacey Wright  |  Graphic Designer

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1 hour ago, WaianaeCrider said:

You can reduce the number of citrus trees by contacting a GOOD GRAFTER and having him/her put more that one type on a tree.  That would make more room for palms, right?  LOL  Just an idea.

Easier said than done. Texas has very restrictive citrus laws and his proximity to the commercial growers will make things worse. If you live in Texas, you get what you gets.

Oklahoma and New Mexico dont have such regulations. I'm just sayin'.;)

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Ok, here's one that's SLIGHTLY more realistic...

fruit2.jpg

What you could do would be to extend the skinny planters in the middle on both the left & right sides, and then curve them so the path is more organic in shape. This would give you two HUGE beds to put a big fat fruit tree right in he middle.  Then maybe two smaller fruit trees flanking each side of the big one?  You could do similar organic (with fruit tree in the middle) effects in the other areas as well).

Then put Palms & Tropical Plants around the perimeter, with larger ones towards the back (but keeping the power lines in mind). Immediate reaction is that you have way too much grass in your yard (front & back). Keep just the pieces of grass that you and/or the kids value the most (and this is coming from someone who has kids and kept several grassy areas for "fun" uses). 

* I had skinny rectangular planters like you and like my more organic, deeper ones MUCH better. Lets you think more in terms of "groupings". 

Ok, that's my (more legit) two cents from a graphic designer point of view (please ignore the specific plants used... just trying to communicate a general look & mood idea). :shaka-2:

 

Edited by idesign123
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Stacey Wright  |  Graphic Designer

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1 hour ago, Josue Diaz said:

Yes to this! 

I have one decades old sour orange which I cut to a stump, and grafted with kishu mandarin, cara cara navel, midnight valencia, calamondin, meyer lemon, mexican lime, oro blanco grapefruit, variegated pink lemon and pineapple sweet orange. 

Such diversity and inclusion in this tree.  Enough to make a corporate HR department proud!!

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7 hours ago, Xerarch said:

….hmmmm….. but I must have Bismarcks and Royals, some of my very favorites of any palms. Will have to make sure to give extra space around those. Also I have some some seedling sabal mexicanas. I feel like I should have some of these in the yard since they are native and bullet proof. Some of these around town are beasts though, rivaling Bismarck in width. 

I think you should plant a Raphia australis or a Metroxylon right in the middle of the yard and call it a day.  It will take up your whole lot.

Edited by ahosey01
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Here is a Nagami kumquat, a Sabal Birmingham and a Satsuma mandarin all planted like three or four feet from each other. The goal here is to control the size of the citrus through pruning and eventually just have a big green mass of vegetation that blocks my view of the highway in that direction:

7D240917-A539-4F05-9D0C-3082B61FDA0D.thumb.jpeg.20e95cef612886b016f22b899231173b.jpeg

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2 hours ago, amh said:

Easier said than done. Texas has very restrictive citrus laws and his proximity to the commercial growers will make things worse. If you live in Texas, you get what you gets.

Oklahoma and New Mexico dont have such regulations. I'm just sayin'.;)

You could order budwood at 75 cents per node from UC Riverside Citrus Clonal Protection Program. Virtually all known citrus varieties are grown by them just outside of Fresno. I just saw they don't send budwood to TX or Florida, though...

https://ccpp.ucr.edu/onlineOrdersV2/#agreement

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15 minutes ago, Josue Diaz said:

You could order budwood at 75 cents per node from UC Riverside Citrus Clonal Protection Program. Virtually all known citrus varieties are grown by them just outside of Fresno. I just saw they don't send budwood to TX or Florida, though...

https://ccpp.ucr.edu/onlineOrdersV2/#agreement

There's budwood available for Texas here:

https://www.tamuk.edu/agriculture/institutes-and-other-units/citr/budwood.html

Its just annoying that you cannot just go buy trees or get new varieties.

I'm all for the multi-grafts; I love the idea, especially on a dwarf root stock.

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Citrus are heavy feeders with shallow roots that will compete with the palms; they also cast really dense shade. And you'd be "wasting" that microclimate with all of the citrus...do the cocktail tree and then replace the rest with mangos :P. Much better companion tree imo with deep roots and can easily be pruned to have a more open canopy. 

You can also do the reverse and grow fruit trees under palm canopy. Things like starfruit, guava, jaboticaba, Eugenia and Syzygium would thrive under a light palm canopy. 

 

 

Edited by Xenon
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Jonathan

Katy, TX (Zone 9a)

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4 hours ago, idesign123 said:

Ok, here's one that's SLIGHTLY more realistic...

fruit2.jpg

What you could do would be to extend the skinny planters in the middle on both the left & right sides, and then curve them so the path is more organic in shape. This would give you two HUGE beds to put a big fat fruit tree right in he middle.  Then maybe two smaller fruit trees flanking each side of the big one?  You could do similar organic (with fruit tree in the middle) effects in the other areas as well).

Then put Palms & Tropical Plants around the perimeter, with larger ones towards the back (but keeping the power lines in mind). Immediate reaction is that you have way too much grass in your yard (front & back). Keep just the pieces of grass that you and/or the kids value the most (and this is coming from someone who has kids and kept several grassy areas for "fun" uses). 

* I had skinny rectangular planters like you and like my more organic, deeper ones MUCH better. Lets you think more in terms of "groupings". 

Ok, that's my (more legit) two cents from a graphic designer point of view (please ignore the specific plants used... just trying to communicate a general look & mood idea). :shaka-2:

 

My perimeter beds are at least 12 feet deep, do you consider that skinny? How deep would you go? Part preserving the grass area is not only for kids to play but potentially leaving space for a future pool if budget allows, also I am preserving the sunlight for my solar panels, part of keeping plantings away from the middle is to keep the sun shining on the roof.  Most of the grass in front does not need to be preserved, so a lot of that for sure will be used as planting areas for palms and fruit trees, save I want a patio of some kind right in front of the house, again to preserve the area for sun to the roof with plantings again on the perimeters.  Thanks for the suggestions and the graphics are nice.

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Corpus Christi, TX, near salt water, zone 9b/10a! Except when it isn't and everything gets nuked.

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2 hours ago, amh said:

There's budwood available for Texas here:

https://www.tamuk.edu/agriculture/institutes-and-other-units/citr/budwood.html

Its just annoying that you cannot just go buy trees or get new varieties.

I'm all for the multi-grafts; I love the idea, especially on a dwarf root stock.

I've actually been fairly satisfied with the varieties available.  I've got some things I wasn't sure I'd be able to procure, Oroblanco grapefruit, Tarocco blood orange, Shiranui madarin to name a few. 

Corpus Christi, TX, near salt water, zone 9b/10a! Except when it isn't and everything gets nuked.

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1 hour ago, Xenon said:

Citrus are heavy feeders with shallow roots that will compete with the palms; they also cast really dense shade. And you'd be "wasting" that microclimate with all of the citrus...do the cocktail tree and then replace the rest with mangos :P. Much better companion tree imo with deep roots and can easily be pruned to have a more open canopy. 

You can also do the reverse and grow fruit trees under palm canopy. Things like starfruit, guava, jaboticaba, Eugenia and Syzygium would thrive under a light palm canopy. 

 

 

I do have a couple mangoes, part of the reasoning for the backbone of citrus is that I don't want to be on the edge of my seat every time we have a moderate freeze.  Most years mango will be fine in my location but Feb 2021 has impacted my thinking.  I don't want my yard looking like a nuke went off for the next big one, that's partly why I made sure to put a Satsuma and some figs in my collection.

Corpus Christi, TX, near salt water, zone 9b/10a! Except when it isn't and everything gets nuked.

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5 minutes ago, Xerarch said:

My perimeter beds are at least 12 feet deep, do you consider that skinny? How deep would you go? Part preserving the grass area is not only for kids to play but potentially leaving space for a future pool if budget allows, also I am preserving the sunlight for my solar panels, part of keeping plantings away from the middle is to keep the sun shining on the roof.  Most of the grass in front does not need to be preserved, so a lot of that for sure will be used as planting areas for palms and fruit trees, save I want a patio of some kind right in front of the house, again to preserve the area for sun to the roof with plantings again on the perimeters.  Thanks for the suggestions and the graphics are nice.

A pool in that central space would look great!

If your beds are 12 feet deep that should give you lots of nice spacing (I was thinking they were thinner than that). I'm personally partial to "organic" shaped beds but angular works fine as well (esp if they're framing a pool).

I was mostly just having fun goofing around with your yard (doing a "what would I do with that space" brain game, for a fun diversion). There are LOTS of other solutions could work well. Thanks for letting me play around with your yard :rolleyes:

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Stacey Wright  |  Graphic Designer

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Check out Four Winds Nursery.  I have five Satsuma Mandarin Oranges, in a small space.  I seem to remember these trees are bred without a tap root, and they are easy to utilize as a container plant. I planted most of mine in ground, fifteen or twenty years ago.  This particular fruit tree is very compact, and is heavy with fruit, and has no seeds, and the peel practically drops off, it is so loose.  Years ago, I discovered that you do NOT need to thin the fruit to get good quality.  I do notice that I get a heavy crop year every other year.  I also have two of their blood oranges, and a lime in containers.  My little blood orange which has been in a 15 gallon pot, had about 30 oranges this year.  It is too soon to know if the quality of fruit is ok,.  I have a standard Moro blood orange in ground (not Four Winds), that fruits heavily every year, and I never harvested the fruit on the little one .  My other Tarocco blood orange fruited heavily this year.  I always move my two Citrus that are in pots, to avoid frost.  The roots are more vulnerable to the cold in pots.  The other nice thing, is that they look great on the brick patio, with the pretty fruit.  

I also have many semi-dwarf, Dave Wilson Nursery fruit trees in my yard.  I have four different nectarines (two white), that each tree bears fruit, in successive three week periods, so that I have continuous fruit.  They have a patented root stock called Citation, that does very well in heavy clay, which doesn't sound like a problem for you close to the Gulf.  

BTW, I lived in Houston for two years (1981-1983) and returned home to Northern California.  It was good to be home, the heat and humidity were not fun.  We had these awful digger wasps in Houston, that dug huge mounds in the back yard of our rental house that were very scary, and I wouldn't let my dog go out there.  I am the original owner of a '67 Bug, and it stayed home in CA, I couldn't imagine not having AC.  I still have my car, I think that is fifty four years.

It is night time, I will try to go out and take a pic of my tangerines tmw, and add to the post.

 

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Actually I do have heavy clay and have been a little concerned about rootstock, sour orange is the most widely used here in clay soils.  A lot of the citrus being sold is on Carrizo, which the nursery guy said does ok in these soils but does take a little extra time getting used to them.  You can see in my photo of the front yard, some water in the background, that's salt water, not the gulf but a bay not far inland, I was hoping my soil would be a little more sandy, but it isn't.

Corpus Christi, TX, near salt water, zone 9b/10a! Except when it isn't and everything gets nuked.

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Supposedly Carrizo doesn't do well with alkaline soils and doesn't tolerate salinity, so yeah....

I'm not a fan of our state citrus tree producer(s) or nurserymen.

Edited by amh
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57 minutes ago, Xerarch said:

Actually I do have heavy clay and have been a little concerned about rootstock, sour orange is the most widely used here in clay soils.  A lot of the citrus being sold is on Carrizo, which the nursery guy said does ok in these soils but does take a little extra time getting used to them.  You can see in my photo of the front yard, some water in the background, that's salt water, not the gulf but a bay not far inland, I was hoping my soil would be a little more sandy, but it isn't.

 

12 minutes ago, amh said:

Supposedly Carrizo doesn't do well with alkaline soils and doesn't tolerate salinity, so yeah....

I'm not a fan of our state citrus tree producer(s) or nurserymen.

Sorry about being so negative here, the citrus situation is one of my pet peeves. You should be okay, but you may need to acidify your soil and add iron occasionally. Check salinity levels, but again, you should be okay. Crape myrtle has low tolerance to salinity, so that's good news.

Edited by amh
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14 minutes ago, amh said:

 

Sorry about being so negative here, the citrus situation is one of my pet peeves. You should be okay, but you may need to acidify your soil and add iron occasionally. Check salinity levels, but again, you should be okay. Crape myrtle has low tolerance to salinity, so that's good news.

The Crape myrtles look great, so hope that's a good omen, also the other citrus in the neighborhood look good and I'm sure the neighbors know zero about rootstock.  They bought whatever and plopped it into the ground. Now the avocados I'm more worried about, will have to put them in a raised bed or at least on a mound.

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Corpus Christi, TX, near salt water, zone 9b/10a! Except when it isn't and everything gets nuked.

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11 hours ago, amh said:

Easier said than done. Texas has very restrictive citrus laws and his proximity to the commercial growers will make things worse. If you live in Texas, you get what you gets.

Oklahoma and New Mexico dont have such regulations. I'm just sayin'.;)

I don't understand.  If he has 10 trees or 4 grafted trees it the same only taking less room.  Unless Texas says he can't have some of them I don't understand the problem.

Steve

Born in the Bronx

Raised in Brooklyn

Matured In Wai`anae

I can't be held responsible for anything I say or do....LOL

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11 minutes ago, WaianaeCrider said:

I don't understand.  If he has 10 trees or 4 grafted trees it the same only taking less room.  Unless Texas says he can't have some of them I don't understand the problem.

I was referencing the availability of budwood in state. Texas wont let you import trees or budwood from out of state, so we're stuck with what the nurseries sell or the limited varieties available from the state department of agriculture.

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13 minutes ago, amh said:

I was referencing the availability of budwood in state. Texas wont let you import trees or budwood from out of state, so we're stuck with what the nurseries sell or the limited varieties available from the state department of agriculture.

Roger that!

Steve

Born in the Bronx

Raised in Brooklyn

Matured In Wai`anae

I can't be held responsible for anything I say or do....LOL

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I disagree with anyone who says you can clump citrus together. After a year of struggling to grow citrus, I took a tour of a citrus farm in South Florida. Now I have a Persian Lime, Key Limequat, Valencia Orange, Pink Lemonade, Meyers Lemon and Red Lime. 1 fruit grafted per tree respectfully. Growing great for many years. Citrus are heavily prone to disease, fungus, etc. They need to be spaced to allow for airflow and as much blazing sun as possible with great drainage. If something say citrus leaf mine occurs, it will spread like wild fire with them being grouped together.

Harvested my Valencia Oranges and the rest of my Meyers lemon today.  Think Airflow.

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